The DASH Diet is a heart healthy diet that has been studied in multiple trials in regards to heart health. The studies described below were funded by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health). The main findings from each trial were:
• DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Trial): The DASH diet lowers blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol compared with a typical American diet alone or a typical American diet with more fruits and vegetables.
• DASH-Sodium (DASH Diet, Sodium Intake, and Blood Pressure Trial): The DASH diet lowers blood pressure better than a typical American diet at three daily sodium levels. Combining the DASH diet with sodium reduction gives greater health benefits than the DASH diet alone.
• PREMIER clinical trial: People can lose weight and lower their blood pressure by following the DASH eating plan and increasing their physical activity.
How Do I Follow a DASH Diet?
DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life. The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals. This plan recommends:
• Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
• Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
• Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
• Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
When following the DASH eating plan, it is important to choose foods that are:
• Low in saturated and trans fats
• Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
• Lower in sodium
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Reference: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan. Accessed 5/16/18.